Monday, January 9, 2012

Yansoun w Joz!

During this cold in Lebanon, I love to curl up with a warm drink! Today I went for a cup of an after infusion of anise with some raw walnuts on the side, it's actually my dad's favorite.
I just took 1 teaspoon of yansoun seeds, slightly crushed them to release their volatile oils and boiled them in water for 5 minutes. Antonio Tahhan preferred to have his anise with a man2ouche on the side; nevertheless, you can check here how he prepared his anise infusion a la Libanaise!

Anise benefits
Not only is it sweet with no sugar at all, it's absolutely warming! 
  • Anise seeds have antioxidant effects, according to a 2007 study published in the journal "Food Chemistry". Its powder and extract exhibit significant antioxidant activity, with at least 25 antioxidants such as flavonoids like quercetin, and cumarins !
  • Anise active compound, anthole, has been found to be antifungal and antimicrobial.
  • The seeds contain vitamin C, B1, B2 as well as iron, potassium, sulfur and phosphorus. They also have galactogenic properties to induce milk production in breastfeeding women.
  • Anise seeds have been used to relief indigestion, colic, gases, abdominal cramps and nausea. However, in Lebanon, it is quite the tradition to boil anise seeds and add them with infant formulas to help in relieving infants' colic. But it's not the wisest decision - anise infusions cannot be filtered properly by infants' kidneys and thus it is advised to let go such 'tradition'.
  • As for anise oils (not its seeds), they may work as an expectorant, helping to cough up of mucus in conditions like asthma, bronchitis and the common cold. Keep in mind that when using anise oils, large quantities may cause nausea and vomiting, seizures and even pulmonary edema so don't go buying oils and using them on your own. Always consult your health care provider!

As for walnuts
  • Walnuts are 62% fat, mainly polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic acid (omega 6) and linolenic acid (omega 3). Omega 3 is known for its ability to aid in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood, preventing formation of clots and reducing inflammatory processes. Actually, walnuts is one of the best vegetable sources of omega 3, along with canola oil!
  • Walnuts are also a good source of proteins, more than peanuts but the same as almonds. They may lack some essential amino acids, but when combined with whole grains, it's a complete source of proteins.
  • Walnuts are also a good source of vitamin B1 (thiamin) that is necessary for the function of the heart and stability of the nervous system and especially B 6 (pyridoxine) that is involved red blood cell production and proper brain functioning! This is why walnuts have been associated with helping in coronary heart diseases and disorders of the nervous system.
  • As for minerals, walnuts are rich in phosphorus and potassium, while being low in sodium -  a great combination for promoting heart health. They also contain magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese, an absolutely rich cocktail!
  • Walnuts are the nuts with the highest caloric content, due to their high fat (oil) content. In fact, ONE walnut (with 2 halves) contains 26 calories! This is why just don't place the whole walnuts bag in front of you, it's very easy to overeat. Just place a small handful of nuts on the side of your cup and enjoy!


  1. I bought some anise a few months ago for a recipe that I never tried! This beverage will help me use it plus it is the perfect drink for the cold weather here in Athens!

  2. I love that you are incorporating food that we have here in Lebanon too!